Summary: exposition on matt ch20


Matthew ch 20 v1- 16 the labourers in the vineyard

First we have a picture of :-

The Lord

(as householder.)


1. His position v. 1 "householder" - he is a man of authority, of responsibility and of activity. - "he went out"

2. His pursuit v. 1 to hire- what? "labourers" - where? -" in the market", - when? "in the morning", - why? " into his vineyard"

3. His prudence v. 2 "he agreed the price first before sending them into the vineyard"

4. His persistence v. 3 - the3rd hour, the 6th hour, the 9th hour, and the 11th hour.


(a) the Time was passing

(b) the Harvest was perishing i.e. the rains were coming

(c) and the Work was pressing.

5. His prerogative v. 4 "whatsoever is right, I will give you" i.e. to pay as he pleased

6. His payment v. 8 - 19

(a) The timing of it v. 8 "when the evening was come."

(b) The testing of it v. 11 & 12 "they murmured against the goodman of the house"

(c) The teaching of it v. 14 "I will give unto the last, even as unto thee" -there was no difference.

Adam Clarke states- "as eternal life is the free gift of God, He has the right to give it in whatever proportions, at whatever times, and on whatever conditions he pleases"

now we have a picture of :-

The Labourers

1. They were all hired v. 1 at different times, on different terms, v. 2 but on an agreed wage, v. 4 the master’s wage

2. They were all commissioned v. 2 - to go to one place - "into his vineyard", at one period - "today", for one purpose - "harvest"

3. They were all paid v. 9 & 10 fully as agreed, fairly and faithfully

lastly we have the :-

The Lesson

1. God has a plan for your life - it’s a plan of salvation, of separation, of sanctification, and of service v. 4 "go ye also into the vineyard"

He pursues it patiently e.g. 6th, 9th and 11th hour goes out seeking

He pursues it persistently v. 6 - the challenge - why stand ye here all the day idle?

v. 7 the charge "go ye also into the vineyard"

He pursues it passionately - for his workers sake, and the work’s sake

2. God has a place for your labour v. 4 "go ye also into the vineyard"

(a) It is a place of labour - "go work today"

(b) It is a place of loss v. 9 they were all hired i.e. bought - not their own

" I love, I love my master I will not go out free"

(c) It is a place of learning "take my yoke upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest for your souls"

(d) It is a place of life i.e. labouring to harvest precious fruit

3. God has a principle for your loss v. 16 "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last." ch 19 v. 27 "what shall we have therefore?" v. 4 "whatsoever is right, I will give you"

it’s A principle of love, of loyalty, of labour, and of lowliness v. 15 "is thine eye evil, because I am good"

4. God has a pattern for your lowliness "I am meek and lowly in heart"

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